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Design Review

If you are considering starting a new business or service, making physical changes to your building, or changing the location of your business (within the Neighborhood), please contact the HGN design review coordinator – Thomas Starinsky at (216) 771-1994 or for assistance.  The coordinator will review your plans, help you file a design review application form with the appropriate city department and schedule a meeting with the committee.  However, prior to scheduling a review, a design review application form must be completed and returned, along with project plans, to HGN offices no later than 5:00 pm the Wednesday before a scheduled design review meeting.  If the form is not received in the office by this time, you cannot be placed on the week’s agenda.  Meetings are generally held on the first and third Wednesday of the month at 8:30 a.m. 

You may also refer to the Development Guide to Cleveland’s Gateway District and The Gateway District – Re-Imagining the Public Realm planning documents in developing your project.

The Approval Process

Step 1:

It is highly recommended to contact the design review coordinator as early as possible for assistance prior to a formal submission.  The coordinator will explain what information will be needed at the meeting and answer questions regarding the review process.  Submit the completed application form to the HGN design review coordinator.

Step 2:

You will meet informally with the HGN design review coordinator to assist you in developing your project and preparing your project to be reviewed by the design review committee.

Step 3:

A time and date is scheduled by the design review coordinator for your application to be reviewed by the design review committee at which time you will make a formal presentation to the committee, who will then take action on your proposal.  If your plans require amendment, you will then be asked to address the recommended changes and reschedule a subsequent design review meeting(s) for approval.

Step 5:

Upon approval, you can proceed to the Cleveland Landmarks Commission or Cleveland City Planning Commission (depending on your specific location), which will review and ultimately grant the necessary approvals for your project.  Project approval is required to obtain all necessary permits from the City of Cleveland, Division of Building and Housing.  If all or part of the proposed site is located in the public Right of Way, you will be required to present proposed plans to the Mayor’s Infrastructure and Streetscape Advisory Committee.

Check List of Required Materials

The following is a checklist of materials that may be required by the committee. In order for the committee to make an informed decision and to ensure approval of your work as efficiently as possible, please come prepared with as many of the items listed below as applicable.  Contact the design review coordinator to determine which items will be needed at the meeting for your particular project:

  • Color photo(s) of the project site and existing conditions (historic photos are useful, if they exist).
  • Scale drawings with dimensions, details and sections of the proposed work.
  • Detailed description of proposed work and materials to be used.
  • Full elevation drawings, if applicable (i.e. in cases where the entire building is being rehabilitated). 
  • Streetscape plan if applicable (i.e. in cases where the entire building is being rehabilitated).
  • Signage plan.
  • Color renderings of the proposed work if applicable (i.e. in cases where the entire building is being rehabilitated, new construction and signage proposals). 
  • Samples of materials.

This website is made possible through the support of the John P. Murphy Foundation.

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1010 Euclid Avenue, Third Floor | Cleveland, Ohio 44115 | | 216/771-1994